Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The focus on the Miami Dolphins in training camp has been on the quarterback battle, but what could be the quarterback’s biggest aid this year, a strong running game, has been largely silent in the preseason.
In two games, Reggie Bush has carried the ball seven times for 19 yards and primary backup Daniel Thomas has rushed three times for minus 1 yard in the preseason.
Needless to say, getting the ground game going will be critical for the Dolphins heading into the regular season and in the development of rookie Ryan Tannehill.
Last year, Bush had his best season as a professional. Bush ran 216 times for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns. His 5 yards per carry average was one of the best in the league and he also added 43 catches for 296 yards and one touchdown.
Thomas, a rookie last year, ran the ball 165 times for 581 yards, but didn’t score a touchdown.
If the Dolphins can get at least 1,667 yards from the running backs in 2012, it will make Tannehill’s job exponentially easier.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin has previously said the running back position is among the deepest on the team with Bush, Thomas, Steve Slaton, Marcus Thigpen, and Lamar Miller. But the Fins’ offense has been focused on determining a quarterback.
Now with that decision made, Philbin is likely to focus on two elements of the offense: the ground game, and the blocking on the right side of the line. With Artis Hicks likely out of the game, John Jerry will start at right guard and rookie Jonathan Martin will continue to man the right tackle position.
Miami and Atlanta will play exclusively on CBS4 starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.